The Way I See It!

I am an Ultra-Conservative, Alpha-Male, True Authentic Leader, Type "C" Personality, who is very active in my community; whether it is donating time, clothes or money for Project Concern or going to Common Council meetings and voicing my opinions. As a blogger, I intend to provide a different viewpoint "The way I see it!" on various world, national and local issues with a few helpful tips & tidbits sprinkled in.

My Attempts to Improve the 794 Parkway Speed

Development, Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, Roads

April 10th 2002


The I-794 ParkWay has a twofold situation that the DOT can address.  First, the speed limit needs to be raised from 40 MPH to 50 MPH.  This would keep continuity with the rest of 794.  This would also allow for more traffic to follow through the signal at Oklahoma and Ellen.  All of the timing that can be done with the lights at this intersection has been done.  More traffic has to follow on 794 and this will allow for that. I have included the email from Marie A. Milam of WisDOT Signal Operations Engineer about the time lights.  Increasing the speed will not cause more accidents and will still be safe. There has been a lot of talk of increasing the speed; it is now time for action.  Increase the speed, and then to make the naysayers happy, do some studies afterwards.  The stop light at this location was very unneeded.  Proper planning and design was not done, this light causes the ParkWay to lose proper flow.  The on ramp should have been design differently much like the Howard ramp.


Second, cameras need to be added to the ParkWay and 794.  With the current traffic and the added traffic from the I-43 construction some monitoring needs to happen.  With   cameras in place traffic backups could be seen.  As it stands now, the ParkWay and I-794 are orphans with very little monitoring.  We must look towards the future not just our current situation.  We must be proactive not reactive.  The City of Cudahy has given the go ahead to increase the ParkWay to Edgerton.  Overall, these improvements are meant to increase the line of communication between drivers, the DOT, and the police.  This expands the future opportunities for the drivers and the community; increases the traffic flow from downtown to the airport.



Randy Hollenbeck



The District 2 Signal Operations team had one of our electricians check the 794 & Ellen St signal this morning to determine if the correct time was in the signal controller due to daylight savings time and if there were any other signal malfunctions.  The correct time was in the controller and there were no malfunctions found.  The additional traffic present at this State signal is due to IH 43 traffic diversions due to construction.  We then told our electrician to take our signal out of system with the City of Milwaukee’s signal at Oklahoma and Ellen.  As of this morning before 9 am, the signal was given more green time on 794.  This signal will continue to be monitored to determine if additional green time needs to be added to 794.  In addition, new traffic counts at this intersection will be available next week to determine further timing improvements.  I talked with Mr. Hollenbeck on the phone about the above information.

In addition, I talked with Rollin Bertran from Milwaukee County and explained the backups I observed this morning for the eastbound left turn at 794 & Layton and also going northbound at Pennsylvania and Layton (which was also a concern of Mr. Hollenbeck’s).  Rollin said that he will look into this.

Marie A. Milam

WisDOT Signal Operations Engineer

(262) 521-5340


Mr. Hollenbeck:

            The Lake Parkway, as you know, took several years of planning and construction, and there was considerable opportunity for the public, as well as officials, to weigh in with opinion on what the Parkway should and should not be.  The 40-mph limit was set as WisDOT's response to input received at numerous public forums.  WisdOT went to considerable lengths to maintain the character of the neighborhoods served by the Parkway, and the weight of public opinion clearly was that the public did not want a freeway, with freeway speed limits.


Thank you for your comments about traffic conditions and restrictions on the Lake Parkway.


Regarding speed limits, they were set at 40 mph at the insistence of the communities, who did not want freeway-like conditions in their neighborhoods.


Regarding cameras, there are no definite plans to install cameras or traffic counters on the parkway at this time.  However, WisDOT did install most of the necessary infrastructure, including in-pavement detectors, conduit, cabinet bases and even a camera mounting system at one site.  This work was included in the initial parkway construction with the expectation of making the final connections when the necessary communications were built. Unfortunately, funding to complete the system has not been available.


We are aware of traffic issues and volumes on the parkway and are looking into the possibility of implementing traffic monitoring on 794 prior to reconstruction of the Marquette Interchange beginning in 2004.



Michael L. O'Brien

Communications Manager

Wisconsin Dept. of Transportation, Dist. 2

2000 Pewaukee Road

P.O. Box 798

Waukesha, WI  53187-0798

Phone: (262) 521-5294

Fax: (262) 548-5662


Dear Randy Hollenbeck:


Thank you for your email attached below.  Marie Milam has responded below to your question pertaining to the signal on Highway 794.


I will respond regarding the speed limit on the Parkway portion of 794. During the design process and public hearings which were held for this project, agreements were made between the communities, citizens and the Department of Transportation, that this facility would be constructed as a parkway with curb and gutter sections to maintain the character of the roadway.  A lower speed limit was part of that facility design and agreements.  The intent was for the facility not to act as a freeway and that in fact there would be a transition from a freeway to a parkway.  That is not to say, however, that we are not interested in having both a reasonable and enforceable limit which does not create problems for the motorist.


Because there is no direct access to this roadway and only one traffic signal, there is a tendency for motorists to consistently exceed the posted limit.  One area in particular where this occurs is in the southbound direction at the Carferry Drive bridge.  Highway 794 is on a down grade and the motorist is coming out of a freeway segment into the parkway.


We will take a closer look at the speeds and update our speed studies to determine what the average speeds are on the facility.  The last time we conducted a speed study was in March 2000 before the landscape improvements were complete.  These improvements help reinforce the parkway environment. The study will help us determine if the speed limit is reasonable.


Please feel free to contact me should you have any further questions.




Thomas Heydel, P.E

System Operations Supervisor



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